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A Christmas Carol for the Collaborative Economy

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog
Subtitle: (St. Entropy has an app for that…)
‘Twas the night before Christmas in the Museum’s big hall,
And all through the building soft echoes did fall.
Not a creature was stirring, from microbe to ‘gator—
Not mice, and not people, not one stray curator.
The museum was peaceful from tail tip to snout,
‘Cause most of the staff jobs had been parceled out.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
By Millennials learning that “real” jobs are rare.
The curators were nestled, as was their sad habit,
But they all were gig workers assigned by TaskRabbit®.
And all of the creatures that had been in the cases
Were leased to retailers and other such places.
[Want a real live (dead) polar bear at your reception?
You can have it, no questions–for cash, no exception.
Deer, ‘possums, frogs, each exquisitely posed,
For a nominal fee make great party tableaux.]
I was hunched at my desk with Jingle Bells blaring
Counting receipts for the loot from this “sharing”
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I quaked in my boots, my teeth started to chatter.
Away to the guard booth I flew just to see
What images appeared on the CCTV.
There, decked with a giant pink mustache (quite spiff)
Came a miniature sleigh, arranged via Lyft®.
With a jolly old driver, now drawing so near
I could see that his steeds were from Rent-A-Reindeer.
More rapid than updates his curses now came
As he whistled and shouted out dating app’s names,
“Not Grindr, not Tinder! And please not OKCupid.
I just want this iPhone to quit making me stupid.”
And then, in a twinkling, as I turned around,
Down the chimney Saint Nicholas came with a bound.
His eyes, how they glistened; his hair, what a mess.
I knew in a moment he had the wrong address.
“What’s this?” said Santa, waving our master key.
“This can’t be the museum I leased through Airbnb®!
It was supposed to have specimens! Curators! Cases!
Instead it’s impoverished, and lacking all graces.
You had dioramas. You had stories to tell.
You had magic and logic and that rare old book smell.”
“Oh, well,” he said, “Your lesson is learned,
“What was given away was worth more than was earned.”
Then he pulled from his bag all the stuff we were missing:
Dinosaurs, preparators, even two interns, kissing.
From the dregs of the sack he fished out our director
(Who long had been absent, leased to a collector).
As the poor woman, dazed, looked around her in awe,
Santa leapt on his sleigh and let loose a guffaw,
And, putting his finger aside of his nose
(Not inside, thank goodness), through the ductwork he rose.
And I heard him exclaim, as he rose through the night,
“Take back what you own, and take care of it right!”
–Elizabeth Merritt, Sally Shelton, and John Simmons have never been leased out to anyone, though John did attempt to sell Sally once.
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  1. This. Is. AWESOME. You have made my day, and most probably, my week. May I have permission to share this on my blog? Thank you!

  2. Sure Lucretia–the annual poem gets passed around in all sorts of ways. Please just include the author attributions, at the end, and a link to this post on the CFM Blog.

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